kind of conical rifle bullet with a hollow base, 1853, named for its inventor, French army officer Claude-Étienne Minié (1814-1879), who designed it 1847-8.
a type of prisoner's restraint, 1818; used figuratively by 1883 of foolish, wasteful habits; as "one's wife," 1920.
by 1970, of unknown origin; perhaps arbitrary (see cloud nine). Among the guesses that have been made without real evidence: concrete mixer trucks were said to have dispensed in this amount. Or the yard might be the word used in the slang sense of "one hundred dollars." Several similar phrases meaning "everything" arose in the 1940s (whole ball of wax, which is likewise of obscure origin, whole schmear); older examples include whole hog (see hog (n.)) and whole shooting match (1896); whole shebang (1895).